Tasman Swim Breakfast Club parents and grandparents, from left, Garry Smith, George McKenzie and Lisa Dunn, with some of the club’s age group swimmers at breakfast at the ASB Aquatic Centre last Thursday. Photo: Simon Bloomberg.

Breakfast Club gets young swimmers off the blocks


It’s not a lot of fun getting out of bed early in the morning especially in winter but a dedicated group of parents and grandparents are happily doing it three times a week just to make life easier for some of the Nelson’s up-and-coming swim stars.

The Tasman Swim Club coach Andy Adair, was concerned that members of the club’s age group squad were struggling to get ready for school in time after their morning training sessions. The squad trains five mornings a week for two hours starting at 5.15 leaving swimmers only about 40 minutes to eat breakfast and get to school.

Andy suggested they could start a breakfast club to provide a poolside breakfast for the swimmers and a group of parents and grandparents are taking up the challenge. The breakfast club was formed about a year ago and parent Lisa Dunn says it is proving extremely popular.

“It’s really convenient for the swimmers because it means they don’t have to rush home or eat breakfast on the way to school.”

Lisa says they provide a variety of cereals, toast, yoghurt and drinks and a special cooked breakfast on Fridays. The breakfast club is run by parents and extended family members including George McKenzie, Garry and Jenny Smith, Delys Harwood, Mandy Bishop and Jodi McKenzie and is generously sponsored by Stoke New World. George, who is the grandfather of Sam McKenzie, says he doesn’t mind getting up at 5.45am to help out because “it gets me going”.

Swimmer Samantha Smith, 14, who goes to Garin College, says the poolside breakfasts are not only a big time-saver, they are also “a lot more social” than quickly eating something on the way to school. Samantha says the breakfast club also means Friday morning training sessions are one of the highlights of the week. “We get waffles and pancakes and cinnamon scrolls so when you are in the middle of a hard set on Friday you always think about the breakfasts.”